Hard to believe month one is almost history. It’s fading as fast as our winter has over the past several days. The weather outside’s been frightfully warm.
Things are melting away like it was March/April, pretty sad for the north woods mood of hearty folks enduring grizzly conditions in January. But it is what it is. With roof tops dripping and ground level slush, we’re covered from top to bottom in extreme climate evolution.
This trend we’ve been experiencing in recent days makes for many hardships. Most of which surely involve complications for business owners who depend upon our usual winter to enable activities for sustaining their operations.
It would appear cross country ski trails might be taking the biggest hit. Considerable manpower and time will be needed to bring them back to acceptable status when cold normalcy returns. Meanwhile, I hear power sledders mucking through the slop on Gunflint Lake as they traverse to ice fishing spots or to the next shoreline trail access. It’s a real mess!
Personally, moving about our place has required enhanced caution on slippery surfaces to maintain the vertical.
And, for the second time this year vehicle use of my driveway incline has been stymied for fear of being stuck at the bottom in an unenviable position until spring.
This untimely thawing couldn’t have come at a worse time for organizers of the Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon traveling into the territory this weekend. Unless a turn-around should bring some cold and new snow, one has to feel for the stars of the show as they journey on what will likely be difficult trail conditions. Further, should temps be way above zero, like they’ve been lately, the difficulty rating is made even worse?
Let’s hope “old man winter” gets a grip and shows his true stuff for this great event.
One could guess the warm spell might have the “wild neighborhood” critters confused. However, they probably adapt better than we two legged invasives. So the beat goes on in the animal kingdom,
The less than bitter weather enabled yours truly to venture out for a brush burning exercise last week. During the time, my activity must have summoned the curiosity of a raven. The jet black bird settled into the tree tops not far from the ascending puffs of smoke.
It proceeded to strike up a conversation which I soon believed must be directed at myself. After a few indiscernible “awks,” I sent back a few of my own. Obviously not knowing what I was “awking” about, the two of us exchanged small talk for a few minutes. The ebony creature must have tired of the chitchat because it eventually took off into the wild blue yonder.
I’m betting it probably wondered what kind of a “boob” could have been speaking in such meaningless jargon. Somehow, it was fun to imagine this gabby one might just have enjoyed sharing the afternoon goings-on with this old guy.
A story of another intriguing animal happening came my way recently. During the cold snap of mid-month, seemingly a distant memory now, an unusual visitor came down the chimney at a place near end of the Trail. This had nothing to do with the bearded, jolly old soul in a red suit as one might visualize.
I’m told a curious, and maybe cold pine marten found “up on the house top” access to an opening in a fire place chimney. Apparently exploring what this black hole was all about, it lost its grip and slid down the sooty chute landing with a plop in the firebox.
Luckily the residents’ had the firebox glass doors closed so the furry critter did not get loose into the house. Needless to say panic set in for both the animal and the gal of the house.
The frightened animal made all kinds of commotion but was in no way going to get out the way it came in. A connection with her spouse brought him to the rescue and eventually a friend. Considering several options, it was decided to give live trapping a try. This had to be of concern as opening those glass doors to wide could have resulted in a disastrous chase around the house.
In the end, baiting up the trap at first didn’t work as the scared/angry critter would not make a complete entry. Eventually moving the bait to end of the trap enticed “piney” to enter fully and in so doing, bang, the trap door dropped close.
Much to the relief of all concerned it was incarcerated and escorted out doors where a release to the custody of “Mother Nature” ensued. All’s well that ends well, perhaps lessons learned by both man and a nosey beast!
For WTIP, this is Fred Smith, on the Trail, at Wildersmith, where every day is great and most any adventure is possible!